In August of 2018, LANL Foundation’s Early Childhood Program began a community collaboration process with stakeholders from Rio Arriba County and surrounding areas in northern New Mexico. The partnership became known as the Rio Arriba County Early Childhood Collaborative (RACECC) and focused on improving the lives of children ages 0-5 and their families.
RACECC focused on the community’s existing strengths while embracing “collective impact” to address community challenges. From the start, local organizations expressed a strong desire to work together to break down institutional barriers and build bridges of hope. The dedicated group of community members meet monthly to share, learn, and develop together through extensive, and sometimes challenging, conversations regarding the following themes: the existing opioid crisis within the community; the loss of traditional language and culture; the need to map current early childhood services throughout the county and surrounding areas; the importance of engaging the whole family in the education of children; the need for additional workforce development opportunities; and the division that has been part of our communities for far too long.
Through authentic sharing, discussion, and storytelling, RACECC members were successful in developing the Early Childhood Plan, a plan that illustrates unmatched passion, dedication, creativity, and community expertise. The RACECC Early Childhood Plan is a testament to the hard work and vision of all RACECC members.